This summer, 20 teens participated in United for Impact, a new program designed to help students in grades 8-12 enhance their leadership abilities, build teamwork skills, and create a positive change in their community. The program was hosted by the Franklin-Southampton Area United Way in a partnership with Paul D. Camp Community College’s Kids College summer program.
Students representing eight local schools learned the importance of community service and volunteerism by completing hands-on service projects at United Way partner agencies. Projects included staining at Camp Darden and Graz’n Acres, working at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, shelving books for the Blackwater Regional Library, assembling school supply kits for Franklin Cooperative Ministry, volunteering at the Children’s Center and hosting a movie for the Boys and Girls Club.
Students experienced a team-based environment and gained a valuable combination of skills, values, and motivation to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors. Activities and workshops emphasized budgeting, utilizing community resources, and the impact of volunteering. “More agencies need volunteers than you think,” said Faith Page, an 8th grade student at Star Pointe Academy. “If you really want to help, ask around, because not everyone will advertise that need.”
Members of the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way Board of Directors hosted a round-table luncheon with each group to discuss their experiences during the class, ways to strengthen the community, and what they learned about volunteerism. Alyssa Cleaton, an 11th grade student at Southampton High School said, “I learned how many different agencies help in our community and how much of an impact volunteering can have on people’s lives.” Avery Williams, an 11th grade student at Lakeland High School remarked that he learned the importance of volunteer work. “It helps bring people together,” said Williams.